“I can give advice on this, I just can’t follow it myself.” I get this statement all the time. I hear it from random acquaintances at parties and from clients trying to uncover their health issues. Mostly I hear people say this about foods that they eat or their workout regimen, but I’ve seen this applied to situations regarding careers, relationships, and constructive communication.
When a new client said this to me yesterday, I realized it was time to dig into this phrase and understand where it comes from and what it really means.
“I can give advice on this, I just can’t follow it myself.”
Ultimately the phrase is saying that you have the intellectual knowledge to make the decision. You know that vegetables are healthier than pastries, or that taking time to breathe is good for your stress levels, or that a workout will help your energy in the long run. But as I’ve talked about before, intellectually knowing something is just the first step to making change happen. So this phrase tells us that you have made the intellectual connection, but something is still not clicking on the physical/emotional level.
When you say this phrase to yourself (or something similar), here’s the next question to ask:
“What benefit do I get from maintaining my current behavior/not changing?”
Your answer might be that its’ comfortable. It might be that pizza tastes good. It might be that you don’t know how to make the change, or you’re scared of what the outcome may be.
Whatever answer comes up for you: honor it. It’s easy to dismiss it. “Pizza tastes good? Come on….” or “You’re scared?? There’s nothing to be scared of!”
But the truth is, this statement/reasoning has had the power to keep you in your current state, despite your inner knowledge that there is a different or better way. That means that this statement *does* have power over you and there’s something in your conscious or subconscious mind that things it’s important.
Once you honor your current feelings and beliefs, you can investigate what would make them change. You can say “what would make it worth it to eat healthy even though pizza tastes good?” or “how can I mitigate risk so I’m not scared of failure?” This process of compassionate curiosity is what can help you dig behind the beliefs that are holding you back.
You know what to do. It’s time to make it happen.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,